New Delhi: Indian patience with Russia over interminable delays concerning all critical defence projects appears to have finally snapped, with Indian Navy chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who is also chairman, chiefs of staff committee, warning the Russians in no uncertain terms that defence relations with that country were now under the scanner.
His comments come in the wake of constant Russian dilly-dallying regarding the timeframe and costs of Admiral Gorshkov, which has forced him to warn that India would now be forced to "ponder where our defence relations are going to" with Moscow.
His comments come even as a high-powered Russian delegation is due in town this week to renegotiate the price. Adm Mehta made it clear that there could be no renegotiation on the price of the aircraft carrier for which India has already made an advance payment.
"We have paid more than $400 million for the carrier and we own it now," Admiral Mehta told a press conference here on the eve of Navy Day.
"I have told the government that the Navy''s line is that we should not talk on renegotiating the price for the carrier," he said, but ruled out any possibility of opting out of the $1.5 billion deal signed in 2004.
Under an Indo-Russian inter-governmental contract, signed in 2004, Russia was to deliver the refurbished carrier by August 2008, for $1.5 billion. But the speculation being fed to the media is that Moscow now wants to revise the price by a whopping $2.7 billion, mainly on account of re-cabling work to be done on the carrier to the tune of 2,400 km.
"When we signed the deal, it was fixed-price contract, taking into account all eventualities of retrofitting... The retrofitting process will take at least two years... We have to see where our relations are going to with Moscow," said Admiral Mehta.